Designs for Full House Resorts’ temporary American Place casino in Waukegan are proceeding, as the company continues on its path to open its initial gaming establishment in July ahead of a permanent resort in approximately two years.
Full House is completing its design work to seek the necessary approval from the city of Waukegan and the Illinois Gaming Board to start construction of its temporary structure before it begins hiring people to work there.
Alex Stolyar, Full House’s senior vice president and chief development officer, said Tuesday the temporary casino will be approximately 65,000 square feet. Sprung Structures will build the facility quickly with an aluminum frame and membrane covering.
“It’s like a high-tension tent,” Stolyar said. “We’re calling it ‘The Temporary by American Place.’”
Stolyar said approval by the city and state are on parallel paths for consent. Final plans for the temporary facility will be submitted as soon as they are ready. Stolyar said he believes gaming board administrator Marcus Fruchter will be able to approve plans for the state.
Noelle Kischer-Lepper, Waukegan’s director of planning and economic development, said her office will initially review the plans with Full House representatives to make suggestions, if necessary, before they go through the three-step approval process.
Since the 28 acres of city owned land adjacent to the Fountain Square shopping center are already zoned for a possible casino and related activities, Kischer-Lepper said no conditional or special use permits are necessary.
After the plans are presented, Kischer-Lepper said they will go to a public hearing before the Planning & Zoning Commission, which will make a recommendation to the City Council’s Community Development Committee. That panel will then give its suggestion to the full council for a final vote.
Once Full House secures the necessary approvals, Stolyar said the company will begin to hire “hundreds of people” to operate the casino when it opens in July. Jobs will include dealers, slot machine technicians, security personnel, people to handle surveillance, marketing professionals and supervisory personnel.
“We’ll have 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games, a sportsbook and a food and beverage operation,” Stolyar said of the temporary facility.
After a more than two-year wait from the time the Waukegan City Council sent three potential applicants to the gaming board in 2019, the board gave Full House a finding of preliminary suitability on Dec. 8. The action enabled the company to begin planning and building its casino.
American Place will also be a revenue source for Waukegan. Stolyar said Full House may eventually buy the land, but for now the company will pay the greater of $3 million a year or 2?% of gaming revenue. Along with the rent, tax money will be received by the city.
When the permanent casino is open in about two years, Stolyar said there will be around 1,800 permanent jobs. Along with gaming, there will be a 1,500-seat entertainment venue and a boutique hotel with 20 luxury villas between 1,500 and 2,500 square feet.
American Place will be Full House’s first development in Illinois. Stolyar said the closest is in Rising Sun, Indiana, near Cincinnati.